Introduction to Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.

Document Transcript

Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon, JS, and Young
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 3 April 1838
 
Historical Introduction
In October 1837, the president and directors of the initiated a lawsuit against , JS, and to reclaim a debt the men owed the bank. Cahoon, JS, and Young had taken out a loan for $1,225 on 3 July 1837 and had signed a promissory note to pay the debt in three months at the banking house in , Ohio. The reason for the loan is not recorded in extant documents, but it likely related to efforts to repay and renegotiate the mercantile debts that the partnerships of and had amassed the previous year and been unable to repay. Such renegotiations began in July and continued into September. In July 1837, the financial situation in , Ohio, proved so difficult that in addition to this loan, church leaders decided to mortgage the in Kirtland. On 11 July 1837, the and reached a mortgage agreement with the mercantile firm of Mead, Stafford & Co. The decision to mortgage the temple, the most significant asset available to the church, signaled church leaders’ difficult financial circumstances; they had few resources to offset the mercantile debt they had amassed in building the house of the Lord and expanding the Kirtland community.
On 26 October 1837 the officers of the requested that the of the , Ohio, Court of Common Pleas issue a summons for , JS, and , thereby initiating a civil suit in a plea of for payment on the debt. Either the or his deputy left copies of the writ for each of the defendants on 1 November 1837. JS was not in at the time, having traveled to visit Latter-day Saints in , Missouri. The law firm Payne & Willson filed a on behalf of the bank on 4 December 1837 claiming $2,000 in damages. The case came to trial on 3 April 1838, months after JS had moved to Missouri, and, according to the transcript of proceedings, the case was settled and the court fees paid. No documentation exists as to what settlement JS, Cahoon, and Young reached with the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie.
 
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Summons, 26 Oct. 1837 [Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.]. The Commercial Bank of Lake Erie was established in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1816. The bank failed as a result of the Panic of 1819. It was revived in 1832 by wealthy investors, the Dwight family and George Bancroft, who saw the potential in a Cleveland bank and formed an investor group. They chose Leonard Case as the bank’s president and twelve other prominent Ohio residents as their board of directors. (Scheiber, “Commercial Bank of Lake Erie,” 50–51.)  

    Scheiber, Harry N. “The Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, 1831–1843.” Business History Review 40, no. 1 (Spring 1966): 47–65.

  2. 2

    Summons, 26 Oct. 1837 [Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.]. Both Cahoon and Young were involved with church financial matters in 1837. In January, Cahoon took out a loan that may have been connected to the Kirtland Safety Society. In the spring of 1837, Young joined his cousin Willard Richards on a business mission for the church to settle debts in the eastern United States. ([Reynolds Cahoon et al.] to Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, Promissory Note, Cleveland, OH, 10 Jan. 1837, JS Collection, CHL; see also Documents, Volume 5, Introduction to Part 5: 5 Oct. 1836–Apr. 1837; and Historical Introduction to Power of Attorney to Oliver Granger, 27 Sept. 1837.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  3. 3

    JS and other church leaders had taken out loans from Ohio banks, including the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, in January 1837, which were likely related to the opening of the Kirtland Safety Society office and intended to bolster its specie reserves. In early January 1837, JS took out a $3,000 loan from the Bank of Geauga and Reynolds Cahoon took out a $1,200 loan from the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie. However, by July 1837, JS had abandoned efforts to stabilize the finances of the failing Kirtland Safety Society. Sometime between June and July 1837, JS and Sidney Rigdon resigned as officers of the institution and were replaced by Warren Parrish and Frederick G. Williams. (Documents, Volume 5, Introduction to Part 5: 5 Oct. 1836–Apr. 1837; Introduction to Bank of Geauga v. JS et al.; [Reynolds Cahoon et al.] to Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, Promissory Note, Cleveland, OH, 10 Jan. 1837, JS Collection, CHL; Historical Introduction to Notice, ca. Late August 1837; Editorial, Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 58.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  4. 4

    For more on the repayment and renegotiation of mercantile debts, see Documents, Volume 5, Introduction to Part 6: 20 Apr.–14 Sept. 1837; Power of Attorney to Oliver Granger, 27 Sept. 1837; Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838; and Agreement with Mead & Betts, 2 Aug. 1839.  

  5. 5

    Mortgage to Mead, Stafford & Co., 11 July 1837.  

  6. 6

    See Introduction to Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838.  

  7. 7

    The suit claimed $1,230, which was $5 higher than the original debt.  

  8. 8

    Summons, 26 Oct. 1837 [Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.]. It is unclear from the return notation whether the summons was served by Sheriff Abel Kimball or Deputy Sheriff Jabez A. Tracy.  

  9. 9

    Minutes, 6 Nov. 1837.  

  10. 10

    Declaration, ca. 4 Dec. 1837 [Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.].  

  11. 11

    Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 3 Apr. 1838 [Commercial Bank of Lake Erie v. Cahoon et al.].